Tag Archives: Gili Islands

To Tonga We Go!

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Like a cheap prostitute, Suva didn’t look any better in the morning. I wanted to check out the city before heading to Tonga, though, so I wandered out into the rain. It’s a typical third-world city with beggars, thieves and rubbish everywhere. There’s a decent market in the main street, so I rolled along and grabbed some food. I’m not one to let a bout of explosive diarrhea turn me off a meal, so I picked up another couple of curry wraps and scoffed them while walking along the waterfront. It was actually pretty nice, looking over the harbour at the boats and the mountains behind them, with storm clouds rolling across. It would’ve been even better if sketchy Fijians weren’t following me around the whole time.

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Alright, where are the pies?

My walk through Shitsville was a short one, and soon I was checking out of the hotel from hell (a man was pissing in the hallway outside my room when I did) and heading to the airport through a monumental downpour. You can shove those photos of sun-drenched Fijian beaches up your Jap’s eye as far as I’m concerned.

Suva’s airport is about as big as Kevin Rudd’s knob and just as popular with fat chicks, but soon I was strapping myself into a tiny, propeller-powered plane and getting the fuck out of the joint. Good riddance.

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A boat, some mountains, a bit of water… what do you expect me to write about this?

The flight was fairly run-of-the-mill, except for the Indian sheila in front of me who was blasting her curry into a sick bag. She must’ve had the same stuff as me for dinner.

It was really quite incredible flying into Tonga. The place is so small that I could see the entire main island of Tongatupo as we dropped to the ground. I could pick out every town and feature I’d seen on maps. The country is incredibly flat, too – completely different to the other islands I’ve been to – and was almost entirely rural.

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What the hell, no rain?

The airport was basically one room, and once the other 10 or so people from my flight had pissed off, I was left alone. I was supposed to be flying straight to the volcanic island of ‘Eua for the night but, because of a scheduling change from the joke of an airline that is Real (Shit) Tonga, I was stuck on the main island for an extra night with no accommodation and a very persistent taxi driver trying to take me to his mate’s hotel. I thought that sounded as tempting as eating a battery, so I got him to take me to the place where I’d be spending the next two nights anyway – the Friendly Islander Hotel.

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Nuku’alofa’s historic Sant Anthony of Padua Church. Dunno who Saint Anthony is, but he sounds like a good bloke

The drive through Tonga was interesting. It’s not neat and beautifully landscaped like Samoa, the cars are rusted out and there aren’t many villages, just endless farms, with rubbish everywhere. I could barely pay attention to it, though, because my dickhead taxi driver wouldn’t shut his mouth.

“You like make dance? You like make fun?” he asked. “I best dancer in all of Tonga. Probably best in all of Pacific, except maybe man in Samoa named Gary, he very good dancer, maybe better. He has move where his foot goes behind head, he does little spin, like ballet person. I has girlfriend once who is ballet person. I no mean she wear ballet clothes all time, but she do the dance sometimes, when she not being lazy and lying around and no get job. I get job, I drive taxi, while she stay at home watching television and eating the lollies and getting fat. She keep saying, ‘My ballet clothes are shrinking’ and I say, ‘No, you just get fat! Stop eating lollies!’ But I must admit, these nice lollies. I not even like lollies, but I eat many of them, perhaps get a little fat, too. You think I fat? I run three kilometres every day. Well, not today, but most days. As long as not rain. It rain when my girlfriend leave me, so I not leave house to chase her. She move slowly, anyway, because so fat from lollies. Hey! Do you like Michael Jackson? My brother Sau not like Michael Jackson, he a idiot. Sau, I mean, not Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson have smooth moves and nice hair. One day I like to meet him and make dance. You like make dance? You like make fun?”

Bloody hell, save me!

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This is one of the most developed parts of Nuku’alofa. There’s a building in the background, see?

When we arrived in the capital of Nuku’alofa – which is basically one street with a few shops – we were swarmed by young people. It was weird, because while the rest of Tonga looked like something from the 60s, the throngs of kids looked like they were straight from the streets of western Sydney, wearing hoodies and with headphones wrapped around their ears. Again, totally different from Samoa.

“Children to day have no respect for me,” blabbered the driver. “Just this morning, young person stick tongue out as I drive by, and it reminded me of my girlfriend. She was horrible, when she not eating lollies, she is sticking her tongue out at me, calling me idiot, saying I stupid. I am not stupid! I am smart like coconut tree, strong like…” And then he ran us into a ditch. At that moment, I wouldn’t have minded if he drove us off a cliff.

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Watch out, it’s rush hour!

The Friendly Islander Hotel is a fair distance out of town, overlooking a little harbour. I liked it immediately, with a foyer full of Tongan artworks and artifacts. The owner, Papiloa – an elderly, sophisticated woman – handed me a key and one of the workers took me to my room, which is surprisingly big and has a nice view out over the garden. It was like stepping back in time, though, with old furniture and fittings. Still, it’s comfortable.

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See that seat? I sat on that seat!

The rest of the afternoon consisted of little more than lounging around by the pool, and a long walk along the waterfront, looking for something to eat. It wasn’t until I was out by myself that I realised just how quiet Tonga is, despite being only a few kilometres out of the capital. I noticed further differences between the locals and their Samoan counterparts, too. While everybody in Apia wanted to smile, wave and say hello, those in Nuku’alofa are more reserved and private. It took a bit of adjusting.

I found a bottle shop, and bought a couple of bags of chips from a roadside shop, and that was pretty much it for my first evening in the Kingdom of Tonga. Right now I’m sitting in my room, getting drunk and listening to music, writing and watching TV shows. It’s a quiet way to spend a night in one of the quietest countries on the planet.

Prancing around the Perhentian Islands

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The Perhentian Islands, off the east coast of Malaysia, are glorious and unspoilt. However, it seems like I ruined the island experience for two young sausage-munching lasses.

I woke up alone, the German girls never having found their bearings and decided to join me in my hut. When I climbed out of bed and staggered out to my little veranda overlooking Petani Beach, I noticed a note pinned to my door. I grinned to myself; obviously the Berlin beauties regretted ditching me and wanted to apologise.

“You are the worst thing to happen to the German people since the Nazi Party,” it read. “You suck and we hope your penis fall off and you get cancer of anus. Fuck you.”

I dunno, must’ve been the German sense of humour, or maybe the message was lost in translation or something. I thought I was a perfect gentleman to them. I rambled back over to the cafe, where I had a breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast, while the few people who wandered through pointed and whispered about me.

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Fuck me, how good is this!

After that, the day consisted of little more than snorkeling, lying on the beach reading, lying on the beach sleeping, lying on the beach writing and wandering around snapping photos of this wonderful place. The most active thing I did was take a stroll along a jungle path towards the island’s only village. This unnamed (alright, I simply can’t be bothered looking it up) place is a tiny fishing village consisting a handful of shacks scattered through the bush and, like the rest of the place it’s extremely picturesque. As I wandered around like a drongo, the locals went about their daily lives – washing clothes, eating delicious food, playing soccer on the beach and heading out on their tinnies to fish. Shit, back home we lock ourselves away in office blocks all day, and we reckon we’re a first world country? I’ll take this lifestyle any day (and the fact all the women were walking around in sarongs that barely covered their naughty bits didn’t hurt, either).

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I’d live there

The Perhentian Islands are by far the most beautiful place I’ve ever visited. I’ve been to Thailand and Vietnam and Cambodia, and have explored the best beaches in Australia, but nothing comes close. This place is remote and hard to get to, there’s not much electricity, few actual resorts, and not a lot of comforts, and I hope it can stay this way. There are no no cars, no motorbikes, and the only sounds are birds singing and waves crashing. To sum it up, I fucking love the Perhentian Islands!

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And the Perhentian Islands love me!

I gave the cafe a miss for dinner, instead choosing to make the trek back up to Long Beach to get something to eat. It was worth it. When I got there, the sun was just starting to set and there were plenty of restaurants to choose from. I picked one that had a bunch of tables and chairs on the beach and got myself a couple of beers. They put an edge on my hunger, so I splashed out and bought two meals – a green curry and some sort of squid thing – and sat there  munching away like a fat chick in a biscuit factory.

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Captain Cool goes for a stroll

Afterwards, feeling as full as a public school classroom, I waddled down the beach to see what was going on. It was much like the night before, with clumps of smelly hippies huddled together, only it was even quieter and the hippies even less inviting. I smashed a few beers, then a sexy little blonde sheila wandered over. She put the word on me – hard – and I was sure I was in. Just as I was about to ask her to walk six kilometres back to my barren hut, she started trying to sell me a bottle of some sort of filthy-looking orange spirit. I felt so used.

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Are you sick of awesome pictures of the Perhentians yet?

I thanked her for her time, then wandered straight over to the next shop and bought a bottle of the same orange shit for half the price. It was called Orangutan and, from the taste of it, it was most likely orangutan piss. It was awful, and was the first drink to actually give me a hangover WHILE I WAS DRINKING IT. A headache crept into my skull, I started sweating, the whole deal. I still finished the bottle, of course, but there was no way I was gunna finish the second bottle I bought – I gave the last couple of swigs to some sunburnt Pommy-looking bloke, who took a sip and promptly fell into a bin.

From there, things are somewhat hazy. I remember dancing around a fire, and going for a swim in the ocean with a heavily-tattooed South African girl, and singing a Michael Buble song on a karaoke machine, and getting into trouble for pissing in the corner of some sort of dance club thing. But that’s it.

I don’t have a clue how I got home, but I woke up the next day covered in scratches and bruises, without my singlet and with a video on my phone of me pashing (what I really, really hope was) some hot chick. All up, not a bad night.

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My curry was really, really hot

I wrote this back in May, 2012. In case you’re wondering why there were no updates last week, I was out working in the bush and had no interwebbing connection. Yes, working, which means I may not be jobless, I’m sure as fuck still drunk!

Show us ya snorkel!

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I woke up bright and early, had a quick breakfast of cereal and tropical fruit, then boarded a gigantic bus for a day of sun and chasing fish around in the clear blue sea. I was late, of course, but after 29 years of that, why change?

We drove over to Langkawi’s ferry terminal, boarded a boat, and I ended up sitting next to Lenny, a very fat Pom wearing a Battlestar Galactica shirt with tomato sauce stains all down the front. He was a nice bloke, but he did admit one thing –- he was here on a sex tour. He’d already been to Thailand and Cambodia, and was having sex with different prostitutes in each place. He even acted out a few of his ‘conquests’, leading me to suspect that the tomato sauce may not have been tomato sauce at all, and was actually the blood of some poor prostitute.

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If this ain’t paradise, it’s pretty damn close

The boat arrived at a gorgeous island in the middle of the ocean, and even as I walked along the boardwalk to the beach, I could see all sorts of weird aquatic creatures splashing around beneath me. Excitement turned to disappointment, however, when I saw that the tour company had set up a dinky little roped-off area for us to swim in. The island itself was adorable, but they’d set aside an area about as big as a basketball court for us to snorkel in, and it had about six fish in it.

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Rats in a very wet cage

So, just as I had at the Great Wall, I broke out of jail and went exploring on my own, and it actually turned out to be a really good adventure. The further away from the ropes I got, the more coral and fish I saw. Angel fish, clown fish, gigantic blue fish, sea cucumbers (no, I’m not talking about my penis) and all sorts of other aquatic abominations fluttered around me. I made it to the other side of the island and it was like I was the only person on the planet. At one point, thousands of tiny silver fish raced in a circle around me, and it was truly magical. I even found a secluded little beach to explore!

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Doing my best Tom Hanks impression. No, not from bloody Philadelphia, from that movie where he was stuck on the island

I barely made it back in time for lunch, then set out to go even further around the island. There were even more fish of every description, and I had a grand time hovering around and taking photos of them. It was exactly what I had come for, and yet more proof that it’s never a good idea to stick to the rules.

After chasing a bright red fish for a good 10 minutes, I checked my camera and saw that it was 2:52, and the boat was pissing off at three. And I don’t think Malaysian tour operators really give a shit whether they leave someone behind or not.

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There’s the fish, but where are the chips?

With visions of being left on the island to be eaten by savages (and not in the good way), I cranked the engines and absolutely belted it back to the beach. Seriously, the Thorpedo would’ve been proud of me. I looked up to see the last tourist climbing from the pier onto the boat, but there was still 100 or so metres between me and the shore. I put my head down and zoomed along faster than Michael Phelps on speed and hit the beach, then raced along the jetty just as the boat was pulling out. One of the guides was yelling out, ““You too late! We see you tomorrow!”” but he didn’t know that, if need be, I’m also a world-beating long jumper. I launched myself off the end of the pier, cleared about seven metres of water, and came crashing down on top of a fat bloke on the deck of the boat. I’d made it, and from the look on the fat bloke’s face, I’d made his day, too.

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Holy shit, it’s a flying shark!

On the way back I had another chat to Lenny, who asked if I was keen to “Go halvsies” with him in a hooker, and told him I’d have to give it a miss! Good bloke, that Lenny.

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At least I was able to keep this meal down

After getting dropped off, I had a short nap, snapped some photos of the sunset (and ‘accidentally’ managed to get some photos of a topless Malaysian sheila in there) and then had dinner at a beachside restaurant next to the one I’d visited the night before. You know, the one where the chef poisoned me for making a witty comment to his girlfriend, only for me to go back a few hours later and shit and spew all over their tables as revenge. As I tucked into my calamari rings and sipped on my cocktail, they stood a few metres away, shaking their fists and yelling at me in a language I couldn’t understand. I just raised my glass and blew them a loud raspberry, which made the chef take off his silly white hat, chuck it on the ground and step on it angrily.

And that was the end of my trip to Langkawi.

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Goodnight, sun!

It’s pants-on-head time again!

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I woke up under a tree in the dirt, surrounded by Germans eating their breakfast. I had one thong on, my phone was thrown carelessly in the grass a few metres away, and my hair was full of sand. I had no idea how I got there, or why I’d decided to sleep on the ground about 40 metres from my bungalow. All I knew was that I got really, really pissed the night before.

Oh, and I tried to pick up another lesbian. Seriously, what’s the go there? I reckon I’d have no problem turning a girl from straight to lesbo, but what chick in her right mind is going to give up a steady diet of fish tacos for my beef burrito?

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There we go. That’s my tree.

Back on topic, Gili Air is fantastic, even if I did spend the majority of my time there nursing a hangover that could kill a small army. The island is certainly more developed than Meno – instead of quiet dirt tracks through the bush, the circumference is dotted with restaurants and bungalows, but they are beautiful just the same. In parts, the intricate bamboo cottages set amongst the trees look like something out of a fantasy movie. Just taking a stroll around the island is to escape to another world.

Air is lacking the overdevelopment and drunken Aussie culture (ahem) that has ruined Kuta, and is a great place to just sit on your arse and… well, do fuck all else.

In saying that, it’s a bit of a one trick pony, and a couple of nights is all one needs here. Sure, there are good restaurants and bars, but that’s all there really is to it. Once you’re done with that, you’ve seen all this place has to offer.

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It’s also not a ‘real’ place. As incredible as Gili Air is, it’s a tourist attraction. Staying there isn’t about becoming immersed in a different culture, it’s about being in a lovely place. That’s fine, but I find myself wanting more – to see culture and history. In that way, Air works better as a halfway-point between more authentic destinations.

There was also an annoying rooster out the back of my joint. I don’t know what the deal with chooks is here, but they don’t crow like the ones back home – every time they make a noise, it sounds like a pensioner with haemorrhoids trying to squeeze out a turd. It’s painful and annoying, and I had a grin on my face every time I bit into a chicken dinner, knowing I was eating a family member of that motherfucker.

I can also sympathise with my ex-girlfriends, who also suffered from a lack of sleep due to an annoying cock.

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Sailing the seas in a fucking bathtub

It was supposed to be a quiet cruise between tropical islands. Instead it became a terrifying game of life and death that almost led to dozens of deaths.

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Alright, so I’m exaggerating a bit (and not for the first time. Ask any of my ex-girlfriends). But my trip between Lembongan and the tiny isle of Gili Meno, off the coast of Lombok, was one of the most frightening experiences I’ve ever had, one which had me fearing for my life and wondering whether I’d be going home in a box.

It started out pleasantly enough. The sea was calm, the sky was overcast by not stormy. The boat, but ‘Indonesia’s safest tour company’ Scoot was smaller than something I’d expect to take to the open ocean, but as we piled in there was nothing to warn us about what was to come. Even as we headed out, I sat back, relaxed, and played Sonic the Hedgehog on my phone. And then everything changed.

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The sky turned black, the boat started to rock, and then we were hit from the left by a wave that almost flipped us over. And then another wave barged in, hitting us even harder, knocking one girl out of her seat and sending her crashing to the other side of the boat, splitting her head open. There was swearing in half a dozen languages. One guy with an orange afro started spewing his guts up, and that set off a couple more. Then another wave smashed into us, rocking us so hard that the windows on the far side dipped into the green ocean, sending water pouring into the cabin.

The captain did his best to fight the waves, yanking the wheel from one side to the other while swearing in Indonesian. Water raged in through cracks in the roof and soaked us. The little guy next to me started praying to whichever God he has. I hoped he was putting in a word for me.

One final wave almost skittled us, then the sea calmed and we rolled into the Gili Islands. When we pulled into Gili Air, the boat was caked with blood and bile, tears were flowing freely and most of us were vowing never to step onto a boat again.

Honestly, that boat had no right to be out on the open water. It was little more than a tiny flat-bottomed piece of shit (I think I just described Bill Shorten), and it’s no wonder that these things sink from time to time. If it was the high season, it would’ve been overloaded, too, which probably would’ve been enough to take it down, at the cost of 50 lives. I get that they don’t have the same safety laws here as we do in Australia, but to run boats like that is fucking stupid and shows a complete disregard for human life.

Being heaps brave and shit, I wasn’t too worried. Plus, there was this really cute Indo girl who worked on the boat across from me who kept my mind off potentially dying, and she must’ve thought I was a bit of alright, too, because she gave me her number when we got back to land. I dunno, maybe almost carking it made her feel like taking her chances with the nearest fella, but I think she was keen as mustard on the Row Row. Apparently she spends a few months in Australia every year and  wants to meet up when we’re both there, so I’ll see what I can do to put her off Aussie blokes for life.

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As for my home for the next three days, Gili Meno, from what I’ve seen it’s very quiet and relaxed, with plenty of good beaches. I’d heard that it’s largely an island for couples (with the nearby Gili Trewarrawarrarangayangoontinytoon catering for party yo cool dudes who want to eat mushrooms – no thanks, getting chased through the streets of Amsterdam by fucking cartoon characters was enough for me), but I’ll see what it’s like to be here on my Pat Malone.

Sitting on my balcony, I can hear the music from Gili T and know that, while I love getting shitfaced drunk more than pretty much anything else in the world, that’s not the place for me. At the same time, right now I’m a single man amongst happy couples, so I don’t fit in here. Sometimes I think my opportunities to be part of either are gone, and that’s why I’m still here, travelling around from one place to the next, never content with where I am or what I’m doing.

The rest of the time, I just think I should have another beer.

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A woman laughed at my penis (so what’s new?)

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I must’ve been a good boy, because the big fella upstairs decided to present me with bright sunshine when I woke up. After 10 days of rain and shittiness, I didn’t quite understand what I was seeing, but made the most of it by getting out there and exploring Nusa Lembongan.

I wanted to go snorkelling, but the thought of going out with a tour group full of Japs wearing floaties didn’t appeal, so I just wandered up to the north of the island, looking for somewhere to go for a dip. As I swaggered along, I saw Malcolm McDowell’s twin sitting at a table with a coffee in his hand. “It’s not too late to have an encounter with ‘The Human Vacuum Cleaner,’” he purred, then made loud sucking sounds. I hurried to my destination.

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Unlike Penida, Lembongan is largely rubbish for snorkelling, but there’s a good spot out behind the mangroves at the top of the island, and that’s where I went. I just looked for the tour boats a couple of hundred metres from the shore and splashed out there, and when I made it, I got quite a treat. Plenty of coral, buckets of fish, and a nice snork was had by all.

Being the mature, sophisticated gentleman I am, I decided to take a photo of myself underwater with my cock out. So I set the camera up in an area full of fish, swam past it and pulled out my knob just as it went off (the camera, not my knob). I thought I was pretty clever, until I resurfaced and realised that a Japanese woman was swimming about three metres away and had seen the whole thing.

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She just looked at me, smirked, and said, “In didn’t think the water was that cold,” and ducked under the waves. I think she wanted me.

As I was walking back to my hotel, an old local bloke with some sort of massive growth on his face stopped his bike next to me and said the obligatory, “You want ride?”
“I’d love a ride,” I replied. “But I don’t have any money.”
“No money, no honey,” he squeaked, then blew me a kiss.

My afternoon was somewhat less relaxing, however. I’m heading to the Gili Islands tomorrow, and getting a ticket was more hassle than it should’ve been (big fucking surprise, this Asia, where even cooking two minute noodles take six hours and involves a stop-over at some dickhead’s shop). The locals around this place swoop on you like seagulls when they want to sell you a boat trip or rent you a bike, but they’re no help whatsoever if there’s not a cent in it for them. I always hear about how helpful the people are over here but, fuck that, only when there’s money in it.

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